Photography

Keith Arnatt, Self-Burial. 1969.

Keith Arnatt, Self-Burial (Television Interference Project). 1969.

Keith Arnatt, Self-Burial (Television Interference Project). 1969.

Keith Arnatt’s “Self-Burial” photography project was described as “the disappearance of the artist,” yet after it aired on television, he was impressed with the various interpretations it can hold for viewers. We recognize that it is the disappearance of the artist in the earth, and can also be considered the disappearance of creativity – in creativity. What are the questions it poses about disappearance and death, creativity and nature? Arnatt is quoted as saying, “I tended, around ‘67, to prefer art to be not too distinguishable from its setting and wished to introduce as little “foreign matter” as possible into a chosen location. This has always been an important consideration for me.”

Mary Shannon Johnstone, Landfill Dogs. 2013.

Mary Shannon Johnstone, Mistletoe. 2012. Part of the Landfill Dogs project (2013).

Mary Shannon Johnstone, Mistletoe. 2012. Part of the Landfill Dogs project (2013).

“These are not just cute pictures of dogs. These are dogs who have been homeless for at least two weeks, and now face euthanasia if they do not find a home. Each week I bring one dog from the county animal shelter and photograph him/her at the local landfill.

The landfill site is used for two reasons. First, this is where the dogs will end up if they do not find a home. Their bodies will be buried deep in the landfill among our trash. These photographs offer the last opportunity for the dogs to find homes.

The second reason for the landfill location is because the county animal shelter falls under the same management as the landfill. This government structure reflects a societal value: homeless cats and dogs are just another waste stream. However, this landscape offers a metaphor of hope. It is a place of trash that has been transformed into a place of beauty. I hope the viewer also sees the beauty in these homeless, unloved creatures.”

updated September 11, 2015

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s